Ecology, Environmental Art, and Sustainable Community Building

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  • Title: Ecology, Environmental Art, and Sustainable Community Building: The Meinung Yellow Butterfly Festival as a Case of Environmental Activism in Taiwan
  • Author(s): Meiqin Wang
  • Publisher: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Collection: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Series: On Sustainability
  • Journal Title: The International Journal of Social Sustainability in Economic, Social, and Cultural Context
  • Keywords: Hakka Culture, Environmental Activism, Ecological Literacy, Public Art, Community Building, Environmental Art, Informal Life Politics
  • Volume: 19
  • Issue: 2
  • Date: October 17, 2023
  • ISSN: 2325-1115 (Print)
  • ISSN: 2325-114X (Online)
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.18848/2325-1115/CGP/v19i02/75-101
  • Citation: Wang, Meiqin. 2023. "Ecology, Environmental Art, and Sustainable Community Building: The Meinung Yellow Butterfly Festival as a Case of Environmental Activism in Taiwan." The International Journal of Social Sustainability in Economic, Social, and Cultural Context 19 (2): 75-101. doi:10.18848/2325-1115/CGP/v19i02/75-101.
  • Extent: 27 pages

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Abstract

The Meinung Yellow Butterfly Festival (MYBF), established in 1995 in Taiwan’s rural Meinung town, stands as a community-driven ecological event rooted in Hakka cultural traditions. Originating from the grassroots anti-dam campaign of 1992, it has consistently addressed ecological degradation, championing environmental protection, ecological education, and sustainable development. In the last decade, MYBF transformed into an environmental art festival with both local and global aspirations. Transitioning to a biennial format in 2015, it now includes extensive preparatory activities spanning multiple months leading up to the core events held in July and August. MYBF’s impact extends beyond festivities, fostering a vibrant local culture centered around eco-friendly agriculture, innovative lifestyle experiments, and public art production, enriching Meinung and its surrounding villages. This article examines MYBF’s history and its evolution, emphasizing its contributions to environmental activism, ecological literacy, community development, public art, and sustainable living. Drawing upon art historical analysis and interpretation, complemented by field research, participatory observation, and digital ethnography, this article highlights how MYBF balances local traditions and global concerns. It contends that the Meinung experience, as embodied by MYBF, offers valuable insights for forging a sustainable, holistic relationship between humans, nature, and art, with implications beyond its Taiwanese roots.